How to DIY it as a Wedding Planner with Wed In Tas
Whether you have been thinking about getting married since you were little, or have just had a complete surprise proposal, knowing where to start and plan your wedding can be daunting for any couple. The process often begins with, “I just don’t know where to start!”. Wed in Tas is an online Tasmanian wedding planner which has been created to make your wedding planning process easier, and the good thing is that our advice below relates to anyone getting married – not just for those here in Tassie :). It’s also free and super easy to use. So grab a wine, some popcorn or both and let’s begin!
Where do I start wedding planning
First thing’s first, you will need a fiancé, to have been proposed to and said, “Yes” (or asked your partner and received a “Yes” back)! Ok, that’s probably not helpful but as a wedding planner I can say that I’ve had many enquiries with potential clients who are going to get married ‘one day’ and sometimes didn’t even have a partner! So with that out of the way, let’s get started –
- Budget – Ok, I know that is probably the worst thing to start with but it’s essential. Before you can contemplate looking at suppliers or working out the look and feel of your wedding, you have to have worked out an overall budget. This is not an easy thing for most couples and trust me it will be a good way to for you to make sure you can handle finance issues when you are married! There are suggestions that the current spend on weddings is around $50k, and yes we have done weddings with those budgets and more but also with budgets far lower that this. What it comes down to is what is most important to you both, and we will discuss how to figure this out later on. To start off I would suggest putting together a rough range of what you are comfortable with and that is to include everything (i.e. do not omit the wedding dress because it ‘doesn’t count’ lol!). Also include in your overall spend any money you may be receiving from your parents or relatives.
- Number of Guests – Do a quick rough count of how many guests you think you will be having at your wedding. At this stage it doesn’t have to be exact but it will be very useful as we move on through the next steps. If it’s easier write out a quick list of names so you don’t double up, or use our guest list in the free members section here – Members section. Usually you can expect about 10% of guests not to be able to come, and if they are from interstate or overseas this can be higher. I have been involved in weddings where the couples have anticipated not all of the guests to RSVP and every single one did. It can go either way!
- Budget Breakdown – So now we have an overall budget and guest list your wedding planning can really get underway with the next step – the budget breakdown. It might be a good idea for you to access our free budget in the Members section, just so you have a handy list of all of the categories that you need to consider. This is now where you are going to enter an approximate cost for each of these items (see the sample below). Next to each is an approximate average for Australian weddings, but treat this as a guide only to give you a starting point. Not every item on here relates to every wedding, and if you have a friend making a cake as a wedding present (for example), then you don’t need to put a cost in here.
- TIP – fill out all the costs of what you would like to spend to start off with so you can get an overall spend (you will need to calculate this, or export the sheet to Excel to calculate for you if that is easier).
- Budget Review – Now two things have probably happened – 1. you have quickly drunk all of the wine you’ve opened and are now going through a box of tissues or 2. You are now looking through the Ellie Saab wedding dress catalogue online, or possibly 3. it’s turned out not that bad. No matter where you are in this process of your newly found wedding planning mojo I am going to give you some advice which will hopefully help you go from here.
- Rule of 3s – Start looking at what the most important and least important things are; Select three absolute ‘must haves’, three ‘would likes’ and three that are ‘not that important’, which I like to call the ‘rule of 3’s’ ;). Having met many couples about to be married, it’s always amazing to find out what is most important for them. I’ve had couples fly in a mainland live band for $6,000 and their sister made the invitations and stationery, and then one couple who spent over $3,000 on a cake and had a DJ for $500. Another client I had wasn’t that fussed on her style of wedding dress so we found one a girl was selling on eBay, made a few alterations and it cost her $800. When we were married we had a themed Renaissance wedding and had all our outfits custom made in French Versailles style, with musketeer outfits that overall cost us about $5,000. On the flip side, because we wanted a banquet style feast we opted for a spit roast company which fitted in perfectly with the theme and cost us about $20 per head. It’s not about anyone else – it’s about yourselves and what you want. Really working out your ‘rule of 3’s’ is a good discussion to have with your partner, and will hopefully allow you to then tweak your budget a bit more to reflect these changes. Obviously you want to prioritise the most important things as part of your wedding planning budget, and perhaps adjust the allocated amount for the things you don’t particularly care about.
- Usually the catering/alcohol is going to be one of your largest fees and on average most venues are going to be around $60 – $100 per head, if you are considering an offsite wedding in a marquee or barn etc, then your costs will be higher as you will need to bring in the crockery, cutlery, tables and chairs etc (depending on the space).
- For the alcohol I always suggest a ‘bar tab’ option if it is offered by the venue over a beer and wine package, so you can put an amount on the bar and they can let you know during the night if this is reached. Funnily enough what tends to happen is that a large portion of the bar tab is used up in the first couple of hours or so when guests have been hot and waiting around, so bear this in mind if the venue says you’ve spent $1,800 of your $3,000 tab at 7:30pm! On the other hand if your guests are known to enjoy more bevvies than most, have a definite plan of what you will do if that tab does wrap up quicker that you expect. I would not recommend including spirits (perhaps only for the bridal table), and consider light versions as well as just premium beers and ciders. If you are offsite it can be harder to work out what alcohol you need and there are definitely some liquor stores who will let you return unopened bottles after the wedding, but make sure you check this before you make any purchases.
- Help ! –
So you have tweaked your budget, completed your ‘rule of 3’s’, made all the changes you absolutely can and you are still thousands away from what you can spend and what you want? What do you do? Here are some thoughts for you that don’t include selling your body parts –
- Can you put the wedding planning back another year? Ok, I know that your friends are getting married, or you don’t want to wait that long because you really WANT to do it this next February. BUT, what if it meant you could have the all the elements of the wedding you wanted? Is there the option to put a savings plan in place, or use something like the Acorns App to save a little bit extra each week? It could also mean that you get that supplier you really want because they were already booked out this coming season. You will potentially have more choice and lots more time to plan (and fund) your wedding – yay!
- Do you have something you can sell? If you really want it to happen, have a look what you have and get listing on Gumtree or eBay – clothes, handbags, that vehicle that was going to be ‘restored’ one day (this doesn’t have to just apply to the ladies, either). Have a Spring clean and sell what you can, and make sure you have a place for the money to go that is separate and at long arms reach from your everyday necessities – a dedicated wedding account. Make a separate account in your bank, use a money box, always put away your gold coins in a container… Whatever you need to do. It will give you more motivation when you see this figure growing and you don’t end up accidentally spending it.
- Can you do something for money? (Keep reading it’s not necessarily what you think!) Can you walk the neighbourhood dogs (good way to get fit beforehand anyway), do some casual admin, cleaning, gardening or handyman work for people (you can list on Gumtree services for free in your area). You might not think you have any skills or time, but if you really want this to happen, you have to get it done. For example, I work on average 120 hours a week, I essentially have 2 work days in a day (I start at 10am and work until 2/3 am most days) and I’m currently writing this at 2:30am in the morning. We have a house, children, pets and a very busy event and wedding business that also means we aren’t home all of the time. If you really want something bad enough then you are going to have to make it happen, and perhaps even do some work together on the weekends or after hours. It can be a great relationship building activity as well!
- Parents and Relatives – I don’t really want to put in ‘beg your parents for money’ because that would be wrong and probably strange for most of us. Is it possible to get a ‘loan’ from your parents/relatives and pay them back afterwards (make sure you have a pay back plan)? Are they willing to pay for any parts of the wedding? Everyone’s family situation will be different and it’s a good thing to have an open and non judgemental conversation about.
- Catering – As we know it’s one of the most expensive but usually necessary and important parts of the wedding – eating and weddings tend to go hand in hand. Whilst I don’t particularly like this option, if you have been together for a while and have everything you want, sometimes it is easier for guests to pay for their meal or a portion of the food cost. It reduces costs for you and your guests don’t have to think about a present. It is a trend I’ve seen increasing over the ‘wishing well’ option, and it seems that people are warming to the idea more but you will know your demographic and whether it’s an option or not. Word of advice – DO NOT rely on your wishing well to pay for or pay back anyone, trust me I’ve seen it all – including a couple trying to find enough money to pay the bar tab at the end of the night by ferociously looking through envelopes for enough money in front of the guests… Unpleasant.
Phew – that’s it for now, we have made it through – happy dance! Hopefully you now have a list of budget items with costs that all align closely enough to your overall budget, and are feeling ready to take the next step in your wedding planning. The next step will be covered in, “What do I do next?” and is essentially Phase 2 of you rocking your DIY wedding plan and kick starting your wedding off the ground! Cheers 🙂
Love the Gabbi & The WIT Team! x x
Wed In Tas – The online wedding planner to make getting married in Tasmania easier